The Williams High School boys basketball team took a respectable third place in the recent Valley Holiday Tournament in Sanders.
The Viking boys finished in third place with a 3-2 record. Williams notched victories over Sun Valley, Shonto Prep and Leupp and fell to Rock Point and Valley.
In the Dec. 27 opener vs. Sun Valley, Williams led 17-4 just eight minutes into the game. Sun Valley could not handle the Vikings in the second quarter either and trailed 35-12. In the second half, the Vikes mercifully let up a little and ended up winning, 65-36.
Williams had a balanced offensive attack with the top scorer being Gil Pacheco with 14. Juaquin Ortiz also hit double figures with 12 points. The Vikes played the game without Tell Eckel, one of the top scorers on the team.
Chad Bain and Gene Yazzie led Sun Valley with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The following day, Williams played Shonto Prep and took another convincing victory, 72-53. The Vikings built a 38-22 lead by halftime and after seeing the lead trimmed down to 13 by the end of the third quarter, Dave Green’s crew poured it on in the fourth to put any thoughts of a Shonto comeback out of their heads.
Eckel was available for this game and he scored 13 points. Pacheco also had 13 points while Juaquin Ortiz finished with 12. A noticeable concern in this game was a poor free-throw shooting effort for Williams. The was just 8-for-25 at the line (32 percent).
William Mondy led Shonto Prep with 23 points and teammate Nathaniel Johnson added 10.
The Vikings next played Leupp in a contest later that same day. Again, Williams got off to the quick start with leads of 18-5 after the first and 42-20 by halftime. In the end, Williams had taken a 75-37 victory, outscoring the opponent in each of the four quarters.
A lot of players saw action in this one with the top scorer being Chris Harwood with 11 points. Alessio DeFaveri, a foreign-exchange student for Williams, had 10 points.
Williams played two more games on the tourney’s final day and those were against the two toughest teams. The Vikings took on Rock Point and was competitive in the first half, trailing only 32-27. But in the third, Rock Point erupted for a 21-8 quarter en route to a 69-51 victory.
Williams again struggled at the free-throw line, hitting 10-of-30 (33 percent). The top Viking scorer was Eckel with 14 points, which included a pair of three-pointers. Big man Steffen Eikenberry chipped in 11.
The tournament, which had no championship round and awarded places based on round-robin record, ended with Williams against Valley. The Pirates are having another exceptional season this year and had few problems with Williams in a 97-51 win.
Valley shot out to a 22-9 lead in the first quarter and continued its offensive barrage the rest of the game, just missing the century mark by three points on the final scoreboard.
For Williams, Harwood led with 10 points. Green cleared his bench in this one with several players seeing action.
Curtis Bardsley and Mario Orozco were named to the all-tournament team. Green said they both played well on defense.
“Curtis did a great job on the boards and especially well with offensive rebounds and following the rebounds with shots,” Green said. “Mario did well on defense by forcing the opponents into our full-court traps.”
Williams got back into Canyon Region play this past Friday with a road trip to Heber. The Mustangs built a quick, early lead and then held off a Williams charge in the fourth quarter to take an 84-66 win.
“We were behind by 22 or 24 at one point and came back to within 14 in the fourth quarter with three or four minutes left,” Green said. “Then, we just couldn’t do any better and had to foul and they made their free throws.”
Mogollon led 23-9 eight minutes into the contest but Williams upped the tempo in the second quarter and stayed within striking distance at 33-21 at the break. But in the second half, Mogollon held off WHS each time and won by 18. The Vikes had trouble with dribbling and passing, Green said.
“Curtis Bardsley played a really good ballgame,” Green said. “Curtis, Steffen and Chris got inside and got some rebounds and scored some points.”
Bardsley led WHS scorers with 15, including 5-for-6 from the line. Pacheco consistently hit outside shots in the game and finished with 14 points. Eikenberry finished with 10.
Williams (1-2, 5-13) was scheduled to play Sedona Red Rock Tuesday in a game after deadline. Next up for the Vikings will be a conference game at home vs. Mayer on Saturday. The varsity boys are scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
The Vikings will host Salome this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m.